Wednesday 26-June-2024

In a significant turnout, approximately 80% of Nagaland’s electorate, totaling over 2.23 lakh voters, participated in the civic polls held on Wednesday after a hiatus of two decades, as confirmed by a senior official. The voting process for 25 urban local bodies (ULBs) across 10 districts commenced at 7:30 am under stringent security measures and concluded at 4 pm. Notably, ballot papers replaced EVMs in all 420 polling stations, marking a departure from electronic voting methods.

This electoral event marks a historic milestone for Nagaland, which saw polling for three municipalities and 36 town councils after a 20-year gap. The polls also introduced 33% reservation for women in urban local bodies for the first time, underscoring a significant step towards gender inclusivity in governance, as highlighted by the official.

Vote counting is scheduled for June 29th. A diverse electorate, comprising over 2.23 lakh voters, including 1,13,521 women, will determine the outcomes for 523 candidates representing 11 political parties. Past attempts to conduct these elections were often stalled due to objections from tribal bodies and civil society organizations, particularly regarding issues such as women’s reservation and taxation on land and properties.

Among the prominent political entities vying for electoral success are the NDPP, BJP, Congress, Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF), Rising Peoples’ Party, RPI (Athawale), JD(U), LJP, NCP, and the NPP. However, the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organization (ENPO) declared non-participation of six districts in the polls. ENPO, an umbrella body of seven Naga tribes in the eastern districts, has been advocating for a ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory,’ citing historical neglect of the region over the years. The ENPO area encompasses 14 town councils.

This electoral exercise not only marks a democratic milestone for Nagaland but also reflects evolving dynamics in local governance and representation, setting the stage for potential shifts in regional political landscapes.